Kerala - SOTC tour - Has anyone done it ?

#1 Aug 28th, 2013, 04:35
Join Date:
Jul 2013
Location:
Canada
Posts:
21
  • Janis is offline
#1
Has anyone done a package tour of Kerala (or any other Indian tour ) ..see link below ..from SOTC - Kuoni group ?

http://www.sotc.in/category/holidays-of-india/kerala

If so what was your experience ? How were the arrangements ?

I have sent SOTC an email , but if someone who has taken a Kerala tour or any other Indian holidays tour with them and can asnwer some of the questions below..that would be great ..like what arrangements were made for pickup/drop off , lunch , sightseeing , accomodation etc.

Were detailed & unambiguous instructions sent to you or communicated to you via email , phone etc , in advance before the departure , when you booked through them ?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Email sent to SOTC by me , hopefully they answer it

Dear Sir/Madam ,

I am interested in the following tour of yours

Keralan Experience 2013 - 7 days

Visit: Kochi, Munnar, Thekkadey, Kumarakom
Price: RS 24,250.00 per person

Can you please answer some of my questions below via EMAIL

1. Is Airport transfer to & fro included in the price of the trip ?
If so , where do we meet the pickup driver at the airport, when we arrive at Kochi ? Will we get detailed instructions as to where we should meet the driver , his name , contact details etc ?

2. When we book the tour , will we get the names & addresses of the hotels we will be staying at in advance ? So in case we miss the pickup driver at Kochi airport or if our flight is late etc , we can have the option of hiring a private cab and reaching the Munnar hotel on our own


3. Is this a group tour with few other families or individual tour for our family.

4. What arrangements are made for Lunch , since Lunch is on our own.

Do the hotel's we stay at have reasonable priced & good Lunch options or the spots we visit have reasonable priced & good Lunch options ?

5. I know & understand that the hotel venues change , but can you give me the names & addresses of some of the 3 star hotels where the accomodation has been made by SOTC for the PAST Kerala tours in Kochi, Munnar, Thekkadey, Kumarakom


As you can see my biggest concern is the TRANSFER from Kochi airport to Munnar on the first day , as I don't want to be stranded on the airport.
#2 Aug 30th, 2013, 10:51
Join Date:
Oct 2012
Location:
currently in transit
Posts:
4,195
  • adam00121 is offline
#2
Not sure if you read their plan completely, but some of the questions are answered. I am referring to this plan, which runs the same cost that you mentioned.

1. pick-up at airport. under "Day01",

Quote:
Upon arrival at Kochi transfer to Munnar one of the most popular hill stations
All the exclusions (where they expect you to pay) are written under the "Exclusion" section. Check that out carefully.

It is a normal procedure for taxi drivers to stand outside the exit gates ( first point where people step out of the building proper) of the airport with your name written on a cardboard...You find the person holding your name, wave to him, and then go from there.

2/5. Hotel list : If you scroll to the bottom of the page linked above, and look under product comments, it has a list of all the hotels in the plan. You could search the internet for online feedback. Generally, such plans use hotels that are dedicated.

3. for the price that is being quoted, i would hazard a guess that it might be an individual cab.

4. when they mention it is on your own, it means you are free to go wherever. it becomes difficult if their hotels are in remote locations. Or they want you to eat in their restaurants and pay. Could be a way to extract more money, increasing total cost of your trip.

Sorry, I have no personal experience with conducted tours. I am posting, so this thread may get some traction here. Could not find any recent articles either about them on indiamike..

the general gripe i have with arranged tours is that they are
1. spending more time in shopping places rather than sites
2. figuring out every which way to increase the base price, nickel and diming you to death.
3. Pay for the cheapest things, and leave all expensive things to you. For example, they will take you to the lake, but then you have to pay the boat guys, if you want to take a boat ride. Or park entrance fees.

Many IMers go their own way, perhaps for the above reasons, and many more.

Hope this helps.
#3 Aug 30th, 2013, 11:23
Join Date:
Sep 2008
Location:
Jambu dweep
Posts:
556
  • sdsudarsan is offline
#3
Hi Janis,

What is the time frame? Due to recent rains, road conditions in Munnar are not in great shape.
Lunch - you may have to have food at the place you are visiting around that time. May be limited options. But true for everyone at that location.
The site says that it is by Air-conditioned car. Would be on sharing basis, unless you are a group of FOUR or so.

If you have heavy breakfast and proper dinner (which are part of the package), then lunch should not be an issue.

I agree with adam that these folks make mandatory stops at weird shopping places where neither the price nor the quality is worth it, though they might have deliver to your hotel/home country options. In local markets, you may get better price-worthy items, but may not pack appropriately for air travel/courier.
#4 Sep 4th, 2013, 03:25
Join Date:
Jul 2013
Location:
Canada
Posts:
21
  • Janis is offline
#4
Thanks guys

Yeah , even I don't like conducted trips much ..but sometimes its convenient to do them , although more expensive
#5 Sep 4th, 2013, 07:20
Join Date:
Nov 2011
Location:
BangKOK
Posts:
13
  • Aneeliyo is offline
#5
Your best bet would be to book hotel online , hire a car and visit these places. Food wont be problem at Munnar and Thekaddy as lot of resturants are there in town. Some hotel resturants do provide north indian food too. Kumarakom might be hard for food but still available. Last year I had 2 nights munnar trip, hired innova and to munnar...
#6 Sep 8th, 2013, 01:41
Join Date:
Jul 2013
Location:
Canada
Posts:
21
  • Janis is offline
#6

Thumbs up

SOTC did promptly answer my questions ...see bottom of the post

So if anyone is planning a Kerala tour or any other Indian tour through them , maybe the following email from them , will help.

---------

Dear Mr. Janis,
*
Greetings from SOTC Holidays of India!!!
*
We thank you for enquring with us. With reference to your enquiry please find the below package for your kind reference and answers to your queries.
*


KERALAN EXPERIENCE
Visit : Kochi – Munnar – Thekkady – Kumarakom
6 Nights/7 Days
*
Day 01* :************** * Kochi – Munnar (130 kms / 4 – 5 hrs)
Upon arrival at Kochi transfer to Munnar one of the most popular hill stations in southern India known for its sprawling tea gardens. Overnight at hotel.
*
Day 02* :************** Munnar
This morning you will proceed on a sightseeing tour of the picturesque Mattupetty Dam, where you have an opportunity to go boating. Continue your tour to Echo Point. Overnight at hotel.
*
Day 3 ** :************** * Munnar – Thekkady (120 kms / 3 – 4 hrs)
Transfer to Thekkady, Set in the heart of the Cardamom Hills of Kerala, is the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve, offering a rare opportunity to enjoy South India’s wild life. Enjoy a boat safari ( on Own ) on Periyar lake to view the varied wild life of this region. Overnight at hotel.
*
Day 4*** :************** Thekkady – Kumarakom (130 kms/3-4 hrs)
Today you will be transferred by road to Kumarakom, a charming village on the Vembanad Lake, enroute you will stop to see the spice plantations. Proceed to your island home in-time to view the spectacular sunset. Overnight at hotel.
*
Day 5 ** :************** Kumarakom
The day is at leisure to explore the backwaters, known for its small water canals surrounded by lush green paddy fields and swaying palms OR pamper yourself with some Ayurvedic beauty treatments. Overnight at* hotel.
*
Day 6*** :************** Kumarakom – Kochi (90 kms/2 hrs)
Transfer by road to Kochi, the* gateway to ‘God’s Own Country’. This afternoon you visit the Jewish Synagogue, Dutch Palace and end your tour with a visit to the Chinese fishing nets. Overnight at hotel.
*
Day 7*** :************** Depart Kochi
Transfer from your hotel to airport / railway station.

Tour Name*: ******* Keralan Experience******************** ****************************** ************************ Tour Code*: ICLA 027
*
Package Price in Indian Rupees (All prices are Per Person)* Validity* 01 Oct – 31 Mar 14 except 1st to 15th November 2013* & 20 Dec to 10 Jan 2014
Category
Adult in Twin Room
Extra Bed
Child (5 –12 yr. w/o extra* bed)
( 2-3 Person)
( 4-6 Person)
Standard
24350
21450
8990
5990
First Class
28890
25990
10390
6990
Deluxe Class
*
49990
47390
20890
8990

Peak Season Supplement: 20th December 2013 to 10th January 2014
Abad Hotels in : Munnar, Thekkadey, Kumarakom & Kovalam* : Rs 1200/-per room per night*
Mandatory New Year Eve Supplement : 31st December 2013 - Rs.750 per person including adults & children
*
Peak season supplement 21st* Dec to 5th January 2014
Wild Corridor, Thekkadey : Rs.3000 per Room per night*
Mandatory Christmas Dinner* : Rs.1500 per Adult & Rs.750 Per child
Mandatory New Year Dinner : Rs.3000 per Adult & Rs.1500 per child
*
Peak season supplement* 1st November to 15th November 2013 & 20th Dec to 31st December 2013
Fort Munnar, Munnar : Rs.2500 per Room per night
Peak season supplement* 1st January 10th January 2014
Fort Munnar, Munnar : Rs.1250 per room per night
Mandatory Christmas & New Year Dinner supplement : Rs.2500 per Adult & Rs.1250 Per child (5 to 12 years)
*
CGH Earth hotels high season supplement charges – TBA

Choice of Hotels / similar
*
City
No. of Nights
Standard
First Class
Deluxe
Munnar
02
Copper Castle / Deshadan
Fort Munnar/ Seinna Village
Mountain Club
Thekkady
01
Green Forest/Sterling
Wild Corridor
Spice Village
Kumarakom
02
Abad Whispering Palms
Abad Whsipering Palms
*Coconut Lagoon / Taj Garden Retreat
Cochin
01
Abad Plaza/Atrium
Holiday Inn
CGH Eighth Bastian
*

Cost Includes
·******** 06* Nights accommodation.
·******** Daily Buffet Breakfast* at all Hotels . except Munnar which includes Dinner as well
·******** An* air-conditioned car for Sightseeing and excursions as per our brochure itinerary ( not* at Kumarakom).
·******** All Currently applicable taxes.

Cost Excludes
·******** Air fare / train fare.
·******** Any meals other then those specified in ‘Cost Includes’.
·******** Expenses of personal nature such as tips, telephone calls, laundry, liquor etc.
·******** Any other item not specified in ‘cost includes’.
·******** 3.09% Government service tax.
·******** Guide & Entrance fees during sightseeing / Boat Safari
·******** High Season / Festive Season Supplements Applied by Hotels From Time to Time
*
Terms & Conditions
·******** All Prices are in Indian Rupees.
·******** All tours are subject to terms and conditions mentioned on the booking form in our brochure.
·******** Tour prices are valid for Indian Nationals & Foreigners holding Indian Resident Permit.
·******** Not* Valid* For Travel Between 20 Dec 2012 – 10 Jan 2013
NOTE: All distance featured are approximate
*
*
*
1. Is Airport transfer to & fro included in the price of the trip ?
Yes, airport transfers are included in the package.
*
*
If so , where do we meet the pickup driver at the airport, when we arrive at Kochi ?
*
Will we get detailed instructions as to where we should meet the driver , his name , contact details etc ?
*
How does the pickup driver know our flight details & pickup time as we will be booking the flight on our own &* not through SOTC

We will be taking down your flight details and time of arrival. Once you land in Kochi you will meet our driver who will be standing with placard of your name. Besides drivers mobile number is given to you a day in advance of your departure.


*
2. When we book the tour , will we get the names & addresses of the hotels we will be staying at in advance ? So in case we miss the pickup driver at Kochi airport or if our flight is late etc , we can have the option of hiring a private cab and reaching the Munnar hotel on our own

The names and address of hotels are mentioned in Tour Confirmation Vouchers. You wont miss the driver, it has never happened.
*
3. Is this a group tour with few other families or individual tour for our family.

This is a customised tour for your family only.
*
4. What arrangements are made for Lunch , since Lunch is on our own.
*
Do the hotel's we stay at have reasonable priced & good Lunch options or the spots we visit have reasonable priced & good Lunch options ?

Our driver will be taking you to local restaurant where you have an opportunity to try local cuisine of Kerala, besides the hotels that you will be staying in are equipped with multicuisine restaurants from where you could order or have a buffet meal. **

*
5. I know & understand that the hotel venues change , but can you give me the names & addresses of some of the 3 star hotels where the accommodation has been made by SOTC for the PAST Kerala tours in Kochi, Munnar, Thekkadey, Kumarakom

Names as below.
*
City
Standard
Munnar
Copper Castle / Deshadan
Thekkady
Green Forest/Sterling
Kumarakom
Abad Whispering Palms
Cochin
Abad Plaza/Atrium

*

I look forward to personally assisting you in finalizing your vacation plans. In Case of any clarifications please do let me know.


Best Regards,
*
KUONI TRAVEL GROUP – INDIA (CORPORATE)***
*
.............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. ...............

.............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. ...............
Kuoni Travel Group, India
17 Morya Eatate, Ground Floor, New Link Road, Opp Infinity Mall, Andheri (west)

.............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. ...............
Lonely Planet Magazine India Travel Awards 2012 to Kuoni India for the Best Tour Operator
*

*
*
*
#7 Sep 8th, 2013, 11:10
Join Date:
Oct 2012
Location:
currently in transit
Posts:
4,195
  • adam00121 is offline
#7
Glad that you find their reply reassuring. Hope your tour with them goes well, and if you can, please come back after the tour, and let us know how it went.
#8 Sep 14th, 2013, 06:10
Join Date:
Jul 2013
Location:
Canada
Posts:
21
  • Janis is offline
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam00121 View Post Glad that you find their reply reassuring. Hope your tour with them goes well, and if you can, please come back after the tour, and let us know how it went.
If I go with them , I will post abt it ..still undecided ..might do it my own as opposed to an escorted tour
#9 Sep 14th, 2013, 09:47
Join Date:
Oct 2012
Location:
currently in transit
Posts:
4,195
  • adam00121 is offline
#9
that state is still on my list of travel. i have done parts of it, but not all of it at one go...good luck with your plans.

Similar Threads

Title, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views Forum
Tour of kerala Dec 17th, 2012 23:27 0 811 Kerala
Kerala tour help Dec 9th, 2011 22:07 2 951 Kerala


Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2014
Page Load Success